Leadership shakeup continues at Martin Agency

martin agency hq

The Martin Agency’s Headquarters in Shockoe Bottom. (BizSense file photo)

A third Martin Agency executive is on her way out as the local ad giant restructures its leadership team in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal that has rocked the company in recent months.

Beth Rilee-Kelley, a 35-year Martin vet, will step down this month from her roles as president and chief operating officer, an agency spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

Those positions are being filled with the promotions of Chris Mumford and Steve Humble, respectively. Both were managing directors with the agency.

Rilee-Kelley’s departure follows the exits of chief creative officer Joe Alexander, who left in December amid sexual harassment allegations made against him by employees within the agency, and CEO Matt Williams, who more recently parted ways after staying on for a transition period.

Parent company Interpublic Group responded to the scandal by naming Martin vet Kristen Cavallo as Williams’ replacement. She has since named Karen Costello, previously with IPG-owned Deutsch, to replace Alexander. Both are the first female appointments to those posts in the agency’s history.

Thursday’s announcement included two other leadership promotions. Carmina Drummond, previously a managing director and senior vice president, will serve in a newly created role of chief culture officer. And Jerry Hoak, a VCU Brandcenter grad who co-led the creative department with Costello following Alexander’s departure, has been named executive creative director.

mumford and humble

Chris Mumford, right, and Steve Humble. (Martin Agency)

As chief culture officer, Drummond will be responsible for diversity and inclusion, employee satisfaction and learning and development initiatives, the announcement said. With Cavallo, Costello and CFO Janet White, Drummond brings the female membership on Martin’s executive leadership team to nearly 50 percent.

Rounding out that eight-person team are chief strategy officer Michael Chapman and chief marketing officer Chris Shumaker.

Thursday’s announcement emphasized the increase in female representation on the leadership team.

“Today we doubled the representation of female leaders on the executive committee to give men and women equal opportunity for success,” Cavallo was quoted as saying. “Gender discrimination isn’t an HR issue. It’s a culture issue. And the fastest way to change a culture is to level the playing field in leadership.”

Rilee-Kelley, the company’s COO since 2011, was named president in 2016 to succeed the late Mike Hughes, who died in 2013.

In a statement Thursday, Rilee-Kelley said: “It’s been a privilege to spend a long career in an amazing company, to do work I’m proud of, surrounded by talented people I’ve had the good fortune to call my colleagues and friends. I wish the new leadership team the very best in taking this great agency forward.”

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Marilyn Scott
Marilyn Scott
3 years ago

And, of course, their replacements–with two young, white males–clearly shakes up the diversity.